I try to keep battles to a minimum in the Smash Fiction version of League, not least of which because, after listening back on some of our past episodes, I realized that the round-by-round slog of turn-based combat can really drag from an audience perspective. As a result, when the characters do get into a fight, I try to make them story-centric as opposed to a random encounter. If they end up in a long fight with a tough foe, I try to make the fight dynamic, exciting, and memorable.
That’s what I was attempting to do with this episode. I knew that I wanted them to fight Dracula, and he was a big and significant enough foe that I wanted to give this fight plenty of space. Beforehand, I looked up a map of the castle of Winterfell—George R.R. Martin himself has never really signed off on one, but I found a pretty detailed fan-made map that I used as reference, coming up with something different and fun that Dracula could do in each area, the idea being that Dracula would spend a round or two in each room before luring the characters into another room. Then I just turned Dracula and his minions loose on the heroes, and the rest is history.
You’ll notice that this set of notes is much less story-driven than those of previous episodes. This one focuses more on the characters, their motivations, and the setting, which allowed me to improvise moment-to-moment more easily, which is critical to making a big, dynamic fight work.
At the beginning of this adventure, the heroes are spread out over three rooms as follows:
Room 1: Nico and Stitch
Room 2: Dante and Mordin
Room 3: Geralt
The active NPCs in this conflict are:
Dracula enters Nico and Stitch’s room. He talks at length about his arrival in this world, about hearing the call from a dark shape in the snow, about the wolf pack outside resisting his control (suspecting it is the direwolf supplying this resistance), and about his desire to make Nico into his sorcerous bride. He will offer Stitch a place as Nico’s faithful hound, but will telekinetically throw Stitch from a window if necessary.
The mind-controlled commoners attempt to pick the lock to Dante and Mordin’s room, then kill the two of them.
Geralt has been dominated and will intervene at an inopportune moment.
Nymeria has sensed Dracula’s magic stirring and she and her wolf pack are restlessly prowling outside the walls, looking for a way in.
The layout of the castle is such:
Fight begins in the Guest Quarters (starts with Nico and Stitch vs. Dracula and Mordin and Dante vs. 6 commoners)
Then proceeds to the Armory, where Dracula animates several suits of armor and hurls weapons at the League (4 suits of armor protecting Dracula)
Then crosses into the Bridge connecting the Armory with the Great Hall (8 commoners)
The fight escalates in the Great Hall (Dracula alone)
Eventually, someone is thrown through the wall and the fight concludes in the Lichyard beneath the Broken Tower (Dracula alone)
Improvised Weapon (Pitchfork, Torch, poor-quality sword, etc): 10 damage
Body Armor: Ty
Sword: 25 damage
Geralt of Rivia
Health: 140 Karma: 60
Swords (Fate and Espadon): Str+5 damage; Fate deals +10 damage to monsters, Espadon deals +10 damage to humans
Chain Mail: Ty body armor
Crossbow: 10 damage
Aard*: In telekinetic push
Yrden*: Creates a magical rune which, when triggered by an enemy, deals Am damage and forces the enemy to roll Endurance vs stun
Igni*: Rm fire damage to one area
Quen*: In force field
Axii*: Ex mind control
Swallow Potion: Rm healing
(Abilities marked with a * are spells and require a Psyche check to activate)
Health: 410 Karma: 165
Scythe: +1 CS damage
Body Armor: Ex
Hellfire: Rm damage fireball, can fire up to 3 in one round
Dark Inferno: Rm damage meteors to all foes in one area
Bat Moon: Ex damage to all foes in one room
Poison Cloud: Endurance FEAT or take -1 CS to all physical attributes
Eye Beams: Am damage
That’s it! Sorry for another lighter set of notes, but I purposefully wanted to leave myself with plenty of room to maneuver here, so I kept things brief and flexible. We’ll be getting to meatier, less combat-centric stuff next time.